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Asian Studies at Seton Hall University – The First Decade, 1951-1959

From its earliest days, Seton Hall has welcomed international students from locations across the globe. During the post-World War II era, the school made a concerted effort to introduce and promote educational initiatives specifically devoted to the Asian experience. These measures have enhanced the intellectual and interactive opportunities for the benefit of countless Setonians over the past several years.

The formal genesis of a venture into learning more about civilizations across the Pacific Ocean led to the creation of the Far Eastern Institute (now known as the Asia Center) at Seton Hall University on October 29, 1951. This date became a major milestone in school history as Monsignor John McNulty, University President hosted various dignitaries from Japan and the Republics of China (Taiwan), Korea, and Vietnam at the South Orange campus to officially christen the Institute. The basis of this alliance was founded on the principles of offering specialized instruction, promoting scholarship, programming opportunities, and the encouragement of cultural exchange with the faculty, student body, and community at large.

Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Inaugural Prospectus Cover Art, 1951

In more formal terms, the principles of this center were outlined in the following manner: “The Institute of Far Eastern Studies was organized to promote better understanding between the American people and the people of the Far East. The academic courses of this Institute will give the student an opportunity to study the cultural, historical, political, economic, religious and social aspects of the Far East. Since the Institute wishes to use every means available to encourage the interchange of Eastern and Western culture, it is engaged in research work, it conducts public lectures and forums, and publishes articles, monographs and books.”

First Board Advisory Board for the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, 1951

The first advisory board featured a distinguished group of officials who directed the incorporation and implementation of programs ultimately adopted by the Institute. This “regency” of trustees included the following individuals: The Reverend John J. Cain, representative of Seton Hall University and the Archdiocese of Newark; The Most Reverend Paul Yu-Pin, Archbishop (later Cardinal) of Nanking; The Honorable John Chang Nyum, Prime Minister of South Korea; The Honorable Kostaro Tanaka, Chief Justice of Japan, who later became President of Tokyo University; The Honorable Ngo Dinh Diem, former Prime Minister of Việtnam who later became President of the Republic; and Dr. John C.H. Wu, Chinese Jurist and Minister of China to the Holy See who also served as a Professor of Law at the Seton Hall University School of Law.

The first noticeable examples of institutional support came in the form of Seton Hall-endorsed research projects that focused upon various aspects of Chinese socio-political life. The major studies that began this trend included one by the Reverend John Niu, who investigated the cultural and social development of the Industrial Bank of China along with the reorganization of Chinese Economics from a Communistic perspective. In addition, Mr. Yeu Yeu Pan, former Commissioner of Education of Shanghai, conducted research on the principles of democracy as explained by selected ancient Chinese writers representing different centuries and schools of thought.

Mr. Ly-Chanh-Du, ’52

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Francis P. Sing, ’53

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concurrent with the inauguration of the Institute, the first documented Asian students to graduate from Seton Hall occurred during the early 1950s. Counted among the first alumni were Mr. Ly-Chanh-Du, ’52, a native of Travinh, Việtnam who earned a B.S. in Social Studies while attaining Dean’s List status and participated in the Le Circle Français Society. Mr. Francis P. Sing, ’53 hailed from Sen-Hui, Kit-Yang, Swallow, China, and earned his B.A. in Science and Management.

The creation of a formal and specific Asia-centric curriculum offered through the Institute commenced during the early-mid 1950s and was open to both high school and college students who could register both on a registered or non-matriculated basis. Courses were held at the University College Center campus located at 31 Clinton Street in Newark as part of the greater Seton Hall University Urban Division. Primary class offerings included Culture, History, Philosophy, and Political Science by country (including India and Pakistan) along with elementary through advanced levels of language instruction opportunities in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

In the wake of the growing allure of the Institute, The Reverend R.J. de Jaegher was dispatched by Monsignor McNulty on a goodwill tour of Asia during the late-1950s to meet with various dignitaries to further enhance the program. Counted among his findings included the following highlights . . .

  • The University of Viet-Nam is willing to exchange books, professors, etc., with Seton Hall. President Diem would like to have Father de Jaegher back to Vietnam for important work there as soon as possible.
  • Chiang Fu-Tsun, Director of the Chinese National Central Library, is a Catholic convert, and he is willing to exchange books with Seton Hall. Recently he has sent some valuable books for the Seton Hall Centennial.
  • All the Korean Universities invited me to give lectures and gave me a trunk full of Korean books for our Institute. All those Universities asked for documentation on Seton Hall.
  • Bishop Paul Marie Kinam Ro of Seoul (Korea) has a Holy GHOST MEDICAL College, the only Catholic College in Korea, and Bishop Ro requested me to ask you to have his College affiliated with Seton Hall Medical Center.
  • Father Willem Grootaers – a professor from the Catholic University of Peiping, a great authority on linguistics . . . after receiving a Doctorate at Seton Hall, could be research professor for Seton Hall in Japan and do some work for Seton Hall free of charge.
Msgr. John McNulty, University President poses with the following distinguished visitors during Commencement Exercises at Seton Hall University in 1957. Hon. Kotaro Tanaka, Chief Justice of Japan LL.D.; Hon. Chang Chi-Yun, Minister of Education, Republic of China LL.D.; Hon. John Myun Chang, Vice President of the Republic of China LL.D.

Additional advancements were made as the school continued to thrive into the late 1950s and subsequent decades as Seton Hall University teamed with the United States Department of Education, Health and Welfare to offer scholarships to students who were willing to learn to speak fluent Chinese or Japanese. Along with external support, the administration looked to broaden the program and affiliate it with the Department of Social Studies. This led to other opportunities that would arise in subsequent decades including various research endeavors undertaken by a number of faculty and students, the creation of the Seton Hall University Press which specialized in Chinese language texts, and official student and professor exchanges with individual Chinese colleges and universities among other activities of note.

Additional introductory information on the Institute including faculty and graduates of the school can be found within our online yearbook collection – https://scholarship.shu.edu/yearbooks/

Resources related to the Asian Studies experience are varied  https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=Asia&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=  Additional specific subject areas and topics beyond the 1950s alone including program development, faculty profiles, and other aspects of Asian Studies at Seton Hall can be made accessible upon request.

For more information on our resources and to schedule an appointment please contact via e-mail: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

Selected Bibliography

Asia Center, 50th Anniversary Program. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University, 2002.

Far Eastern Institute Prospectus. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University, 1951.

“Far Eastern Institute” Files. Office of the President & Chancellor of Seton Hall University: John L. McNulty records Collection, Identifier: SHU-0003-012

“Seton Hall Inaugurates Far Eastern Studies,” The Setonian, 2 November 1951, Vol. XXVI, No. 6, 1-3.

Seton Hall University Catalog(ue) Bulletin, 1956-57. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University, 1956.

Walsh Gallery Receives Donation of African Art and Artifacts

Donor Richard Stern (L) and Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile (R) with some of the African sculptures donated to Seton Hall University

Retired Seton Hall University Librarian and Assistant Professor, Richard E. Stern recently donated a significant collection of African art and artifacts to the University. Stern acquired the objects when he was a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Liberia from 1969 to 1970. The donation includes more than sixty-five pieces of cloth – some hand-dyed by Stern – using traditional methods and natural materials such as indigo and cola nuts. Many pieces were hand-woven, including a small selection of Kente cloth from Ghana. Other hand-crafted objects include wooden masks and sculptures, cast metal figurines and beaded necklaces. “This donation is significant for Seton Hall University. The objects illuminate world cultures and artistic traditions unique to West Africa, while embodying the donor’s personal relationships to the people he met and places he traveled during his Peace Corps service. Stern’s personal recollections about the objects and the people connected with them are being preserved, providing a crucial layer of context for the collection. We could not be more appreciative.” stated Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile.

The collection amplifies the university’s Diversity Initiatives which celebrate a rich tapestry of global ideas and perspectives. Stern’s generous donation will expand Seton Hall’s collections overall, while augmenting existing collections of African art and artifacts including sculptures, paintings, photographs and prints. Presently, Collections Manager Laura Hapke is preparing the objects for exhibition by cataloguing each item and creating a safe storage environment for each, thereby ensuring access to this unique collection for generations of students, faculty, researchers and scholars.

Collections Manager Laura Hapke documenting Kente cloth donated by Richard Stern

The Walsh Gallery cares for and interprets Seton Hall University’s collections of material culture. In addition to the African art and artifacts the university collections include The Wang Fangyu Collection of Asian Art which spans over 3,500 years of cultural traditions from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, India and Vietnam; The Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology which includes objects from North American cultures including the Leni Lenape, Paiute, Zuni, Pomo and Tlingit peoples as well as objects from South America, Asia and Europe; and The D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities which includes coins from ancient Etruscan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures.   Appointments to see the collections can be made by completing this form. A sampling of our collections can be viewed on Google Arts and Culture.   The Walsh Gallery is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday—Friday and is located on the first floor of the Walsh Library.  The gallery is free and open to the public.

Cloth vendor in Liberia – image courtesy of Richard Stern from his personal collection

 

Pathmakers in New Jersey Politics

exhibit walls behind glass
Pathbreakers in New Jersey Politics on display on the first floor of Walsh Library

Seton Hall cares for fourteen archival collections documenting the careers of New Jersey politicians, illustrating the evolution of this state since its founding in 1787.  In 2021, the National Archives awarded Seton Hall a federal grant to process five of these collections: the papers of Arthur A. Quinn, early twentieth-century pioneer in labor activism, the papers of Bernard Shanley, Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower, Governors Richard Hughes and Brendan Byrne, and first Black Congressman from New Jersey Donald Payne.  After processing, these unique materials will be available to the public, enriching our understanding of the state we live in and the many people who worked to make it better.

Exhibit case featuring photos, writings, inscribed book, political buttons and bound copy of Shanley diary
Exhibit case featuring photos, writings, inscribed book, political buttons and bound copy of Shanley diary

The exhibit includes photographs of these politicians, excerpts from their writings, political buttons issued by their campaigns, and most exciting: the daily diary kept by Bernard Shanley when he was Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower.  The archives has a full copy of the diary now available to researchers, in addition to the bound copy on display.

painting of trees along a riverside, with sun glinting off the water
Edwin Havas
Along the Delaware
35 1/2” x 47 1/2”
oil on canvas
Date Unknown
2011.29.0001
Seton Hall University Permanent Collection

This exhibit is currently on display in the Archives Reading Room and may be viewed when the library is open.  Hanging next to the hallway exhibit is a landscape by Seton Hall professor Edwin Havas, titled “Along the Delaware,” providing a contrast of the natural landscape in which all this political debate took place.

Special Collections and the Gallery acknowledge the support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, which generously provided funding for the archival work which made this exhibit possible.

closeup of exhibit text and acknowledgement
Acknowledgement to the National Historic Publications and Records Commission for its support.

Irish Immigrant Mutual Aid Societies in New Jersey

Mayor John Lindsay waving at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City

Recently, the Archives received a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission to organize and describe a large collection of records from Irish immigrant cultural organizations, primarily the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

These records show how immigrants to the United States organized themselves to help one another. These mutual aid organizations provided an early form of insurance – members would pay a little every month, and if they were injured or got sick or a breadwinner in their family died, the society would pay them a benefit in order to provide financial security. These organizations played a crucial role in supporting working class people before the New Deal provided unemployment insurance on a national scale.

As their original role of financial support receded, these organizations shifted their focus toward celebrating culture and community. The Ancient Order of the Hibernians played a prominent role in organizing the famous St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York.

St. Patricks' Day parade program, printed on green paper
St. Patrick’s Day parade program, 1963

The John Concannon papers, which project archivist Quinn Christie is processing, also contain planning documents for the parade, invitations to local dignitaries to attend and play roles in the celebration, tickets, musical lineups, and much more. As Christie says, “This collection is full of surprises.  I never know what I’m going to find when we open a box.  In the papers of Concannon, we found the records of James Comerford, who served as President of the AOH and Chairman of the Parade.  In addition to papers from his organizational roles, we found his membership card in the Irish Volunteers (predecessors to the IRA) from 1918.”

The collection will be available to researchers by the end of 2022.  

Walsh Gallery Exhibits Objects from Seton Hall’s History “Out of the Vault” January 31 – May 13, 2022

painting of African American pregnant Mary
Deborah McDuff Williams
“Remember Me” (detail)
acrylic on canvas
1997

The Walsh Gallery presents “Out of the Vault,” an exhibition of objects that illuminate important moments in Seton Hall’s history.  The exhibition situates the viewer with the founding of Seton Hall College in 1856 by James Roosevelt Bayley, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Newark and nephew of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton – the first American born saint and the university’s namesake.  The exhibition then jumps 75 years to Seton Hall’s Diamond Jubilee Anniversary in 1931.  Objects from this period include a gold embroidered brocade vestment, historic commencement photographs, and a hand-written inscription from President McLaughlin to Bishop Walsh written on a yearbook page.  “Out of the Vault” also explores the 700th Anniversary of poet Dante Alighieri’s birth in 1961 with paintings by Professor of Art Anthony Triano, engravings by William Blake and a rare text of Dante’s “La Vita Nuova” translated by celebrated artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

image of Walsh Gallery's current exhibit
Out of the Vault at Walsh Gallery

The Walsh Gallery and Department of Archives and Special Collections care for and interpret the objects in the university’s collections.  This exhibition is one of the many ways the departments preserve the university’s history via material culture and research.  Other collections include The Wang Fangyu Collection of Asian Art which includes objects spanning over 3,500 years from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, India and Vietnam; The Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology which includes objects from North American cultures including the Leni Lenape, Paiute, Zuni, Pomo and Tlingit peoples as well as objects from South American, Asian, European and African cultures; and The D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities which includes coins from ancient Etruscan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures.   The collections are available to students, faculty and scholars for research and scholarly purposes.  Appointments to see the collections can be made by completing this form or a portion of our collections can be viewed on Google Arts and Culture

The Walsh Gallery is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday—Friday.

Andy Stanfield – “The World’s Fastest Human”

Seton Hall University has a long and memorable historical connection to a number of Summer Olympiads over the last several decades. International appearances by Setonia track stars date back to the appearance of Mel Dalton who competed in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase at the 1928 Amsterdam Games through the success exhibited by Andrew Valmon who earned gold medals as a part of the United States 4×400 meter relay team at both the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Games respectively.  Numerous track and field stars have also made their mark at the school, but one individual, Andy Stanfield has been hailed by many coaches and fans as one of the most successful sprinters to ever represent the Pirates by virtue of his three Olympic medals earned during the early 1950s.

Andrew “Andy” William Stanfield was born on December 29, 1927 in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Jersey City. Stanfield later attended Lincoln High School in Hudson County where he was the City, District, and New Jersey State Champion in the 220 yard dash and Broad Jump. Following a post-graduation stint in the U.S. Army as a radio repairman, in the South Pacific During World War II, Stanfield enrolled at Seton Hall during the Fall of 1948.

Stanfield, who majored in Education and pledged as part of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity during his first year on campus also became a member of the Track & Field team as a freshman. As a means of sharpening his talents, Stanfield was coached by former Olympian Johnny Gibson who helped the freshman become a premier hurdler and long jumper in addition to developing him into a world class sprinter.

Andy Stanfield practicing his race starting technique, c. 1950 (Seton Hall University Athletic Hall of Fame, Accessed 22 February 2022. https://shupirates.com/honors/hall-of-fame/andrew-w-stanfield/203)

Stanfield began racking up several national titles over the next few years, winning six American Amateur Union (AAU) championships (1949: 100 and 200 meters; 1950: 60 yards; 1951: long jump; 1952: 200 meters; 1953: 220 yards) and eight of nine sprint titles during various Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (1C4A) at both indoor and outdoor meet competitions.

This success caught the attention of the press, where Arthur Daley of the New York Times was the first to provide wide-spread coverage of Stanfield as published in this account from June of 1950:

“The Title of ‘World’s Fastest human’ is not hereditary as is that of the House of Windsor . . . undoubtedly it is safe to take a peek at the current holder of same. He is Andy Stanfield of Seton Hall who has rocketed from nowhere in little more than a year . . . with the silken stride . . . Handy Andy has covered the 100 in 9.4 . . . his style is what is most eye-catching . . . He doesn’t run.  He flows!”

Andy Stanfield in action at the IC4A meet held in New York City, 1950 (Cunningham, Thomas W. The Summit of a Century: The Centennial Story of Seton Hall University, 1856-1956. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University, 1956, 105)

Shortly after graduating from Seton Hall in 1952 as a world record holder in the 200 meters, Stanfield became an Olympic champion in this event at the 1952 Helsinki Games along with adding a second gold medal as part of the 4×100 meter relay team.  Further success came with a silver medal in the 200 meters at the Melbourne Olympic Games of 1956.

Post-competition, Stanfield became Director of Intramural Athletics at Seton Hall in 1953. He later returned to Jersey City and joined the Board of Education as a Physical Education Teacher and was YMCA coordinator at day camps during the mid-1950s. Stanfield later became Athletic Coordinator for Public Schools throughout Jersey City. He also branched out into the computer field where he started training schools in Northern New Jersey along with holding membership on various civic service boards including a stint as Chair of the Director of the Newark Area Redevelopment Council.

Stanfield also never forgot his athletic career as he was a track announcer and analyst for WPIX-TV during the 1960s and participation in Master Level Track and Field meets prior to his induction to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1977. Stanfield passed away in Livingston, New Jersey at the age of 57, but his legacy is not forgotten.

Andy Stanfield running laps during practice session, 1949 (First Annual Seton Hall University Athletic Hall of Fame Enshrinement Dinner Program, 1 June 1973. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University)

Documentation related to the accomplishments of Andy Stanfield in the form of match results, meet programs, runner profiles, and other information are included within the University Archives section of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.  Included are references within the Seton Hall University Athletics & Recreation Collection under the Seton Hall University Athletic Hall of Fame as a Charter Member (1973-74) along with the Track and Field Collection dating between 1948-53.  A link to the site can be found here – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/420

Articles can also be found within the school newspaper, The Setonian between 1948-53 which is available to our research community via microfilm. In addition, Andy Stanfield is featured in various Seton Hall University Yearbooks (The Galleon) during the same time period which are available digitally via the following link – https://scholarship.shu.edu/yearbooks/index.3.html

If you have questions, wish to find more information, or set up an appointment to learn more about Andy Stanfield, or any aspect of University History please feel free to contact us via e-mail at: <archives@shu.edu> or by phone at: (973) 761-9476.

Works Cited

 Andy Stanfield. International Olympic Committee Biography. Accessed 22 February 2022, https://olympics.com/en/athletes/andrew-william-stanfield

Daley, Arthur. “The World’s Fastest Human Four for Four,” New York Times, 35, 16 June 1950.

First Annual Seton Hall University Athletic Hall of Fame Enshrinement Dinner Program, 1 June 1973. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University.

The Setonian (Seton Hall Student Newspaper), January 1, 1948-December 31, 1952, Vols. XXIII-XXVIII. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University. [* Individual issues can be provided for further reference upon request]

Cunningham, Thomas W. The Summit of a Century: The Centennial Story of Seton Hall University, 1856-1956. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University, 1956.

The Galleon (Seton Hall Student Yearbook), 1948-1952. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University.

Get to Know the Library Staff! Brianna LoSardo

Headshot of Brianna LoSardoBrianna LoSardo is the Archivist of the Archdiocese of Newark, responsible for maintaining the collections of the Archdiocese and helping researchers working with the collections.  Brianna got her start at Seton Hall, and in this role she still works closely with the Archives and Walsh Gallery team, as well as faculty researchers.  These amazing collections are some of the oldest and most interesting materials at Seton Hall, including the records of Bishop Bayley, founder of Seton Hall, and many unique vestments and artifacts in addition to paper records. 

1. How long have you been working at the library?
7 years total, 2 in my current position


2. What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I could not put it down!


3. What are you watching these days?
Great British Baking Show


4. Print book or ebook?
Ebook


5. What superpower would you want?
The ability to teleport.


6. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl

Honoring Humanistic Studies at Setonia

December is recognized as Universal Human Rights Month across the planet and this is a focus of study that has been particularly evident on the Seton Hall campus over the last several decades. Promoting the study of Social Sciences in the name of Humanities has been an intellectual-centered staple of the school curriculum and examples have been preserved within our repository showing its development from founding date to the present day.

During the 1960s under the sponsorship of University President, Bishop John Dougherty, the creation of a specialized Humanistic Studies program was one of the highlights of his tenure. His efforts along with the deans and professors on campus during this time helped to enhance the learning experience with specific course offerings that allowed the student body to explore the wide-ranging accomplishments of human endeavor in a more structured manner than ever before.

Humanities Program Course Listing – Spring 1969 Semester

The following abstract provides an overview of this seminal program during the 1969-70 academic year. “The purpose of the Office of Humanistic Studies is the development of a contemporary educational vehicle whose chief feature is to probe the humanistic dimension of knowledge and to communicate data whose significance points beyond the narrow confines of the specialist.  As the occasion demands, the Office offers courses in those ‘boundary’ areas which do not fall within the competence of any given department.”

Additionally, the specific course offerings in this area included the following class titles: Humanist Dimension of the Sciences, The Phenomenon of Woman, The Contemporary Dialogue Between Christians and Marxists, The Meaning of Aspiration, Psychotheology, Perspectives in Mind Expansion, The Psychology of Creative Writing, Music in Human Experience, Religion and the American Experience, Films and Their Philosophical Implications: A Revolution in Consciousness, The Revolution of Color in the Afro-Asian World.

Humanities Promotional Flyer – 1974

For those who qualified for the Humanities Honors Program, this was another high point of educational opportunity that benefited those who engaged in higher level study. This sequence included the following course titles: “The Humanities Honors Program offers the specially qualified student the opportunity to cut across the subject areas of the liberal arts curriculum and to undertake an interdepartmental program of integrated studies in the Western tradition from ancient times to the 20th century as reflected in history, literature (discursive and imaginative), and the arts. The courses are organized on the principle that some sense of the interdependence of the various human disciplines assures the most meaningful command of each of them. While the lecture method is retained to provide the students with the necessary direction, the emphasis in the program is on intensive reading, discussion, independent research, and co-related project work in the humanities.”

The course titles integrated within the Honors sequence included the following: Ancient Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Modern Studies, Non-Western Humanities, Philosophy and Drama, Contemporary Russian Culture, Literature and Psychology.

Additionally, the University has been active in the promotion of Human Rights and various statements have been drafted and issued over the the years are also retained for posterity.

Statement on Human Relations, c. 2000

The tradition of course offerings in the humanities has moved forward as subsequent semesters has yielded courses and students who have learned from the varied classes offered. Programs and course descriptions can be found via our Vertical Files and Catalog(ue)/Bulletins along with specific listings outlined within our ArchivesSpace catalog found via the following link: https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=Humanities&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

For more information on Humanities along with all aspects of Seton Hall University History, please contact via e-mail at: archives@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

The UNA-USA Collection at Seton Hall

The Monsignor Field Archives and Special Collections Center is the official repository for the records of the national organization that supports the United Nations, UNA-USA.

Over the past year, a student at New York University’s Archives and Public History Program, Quin de la Rosa, has been working to process the collection – organizing the contents and creating a detailed finding aid that will allow researchers from around the country to discover what materials are held here.  The collection contains records from all the chapters around the country and the records of the activities of the organization itself.

 

Luers and Kofi Annan sitting on a couch
Meeting between Kofi Annan and Bill Luers (left), February 17, 1999

Since the United States has been a strong supporter of the United Nations, the UNA-USA received significant attention from U.N. leadership, as this photograph, showing Kofi Annan, who had just been inaugurated as Secretary-General of the United Nations, meeting with UNA-USA President Bill Luers, on Feburary 17, 1999 (MSS 52, Records of the UNA-USA, Box 28, Folder 35).

Winter Holidays Across Cultures

The dark days of December are punctuated by the celebration of religious and cultural holidays, and festivals worldwide. At Seton Hall University there are a many ways to celebrate throughout this month. One of our most anticipated traditions is the annual Christmas tree lighting which takes place this year at 6pm on Monday, December 6th on the University Green. Christmas at The Hall includes concerts, charitable events, a cabaret and trips to Christmas markets. Check the calendar of events to see how you can participate.

Engraving of angels
The Life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Virgin Mary
New York: 1879, Benziger Brothers,

The image to the left depicts the birth of Christ, celebrated each at Christmas.

This time of year is when Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated. The Jewish holiday commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire the 2nd century BCE. This year Hanukkah is celebrated November 28th through December 6th. The hanukkiah, depicted to the right, is lit nightly to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah.

hanukkiah at the Western Wall
Postcard – Hanukkiah (menorah) by the Western Wall
MSS0016, Box 1, Folder 34 – Sister Rose Thering Papers

The ninth candle is known as the shamash, or helper candle, since it is used to light the other eight candles.  The laws of the holiday forbid using the light of the hanukkiah for practical purposes, reserving it to celebrate the miracle.

Geeta Jayanti, the birthday of Bhagavad Gita, the sacred text of the Hindus, is celebrated this year on December 14th. It is a major festival that commemorates the preaching of Gita to Arjuna, a young warrior, and Krishna, a god acting as Arjuna’s charioteer. The image above depicts Arjuna’s moment of doubt about his role in the impending battle against adversaries who are also his cousins.

illustration of Hindu dieties
Elements of Mythology
Philadelphia: 1830, C. Sherman and Co. Printers

The festival is celebrated mainly in Kurukshetra, Haryana, India – a pilgrimage site believed to be the place where Krishna recited Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. Sadhus (holy men), pilgrims from across the country, and many foreigners visit Kurukshetra for Gita Jayanti.

Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration of African American culture is observed annually from December 26 through January 1. The name Kwanzaa is taken from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning first fruits. Each evening during Kwanzaa, a candle is lit on the kinara, a traditional candleholder, to honor seven principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). The English-Swahili phrasebook below is open to a page with the translations for many foods that might be eaten during this time.

Image of the English to Swahili book from the Father Raúl Comesañas Papers Collection MSS-0130
Father Raúl Comesañas Papers Collection MSS-0130

While this blog post is not exhaustive in scope, it is indicative of the diverse fabric of the community in which Seton Hall University resides as well as the rich heritage of our students, faculty and staff. The images above are but a small sampling of the variety of cultures, traditions and religions represented in the collections cared for by the Walsh Gallery and Special Collections at Seton Hall University. Students, faculty and researchers may make appointments to view materials. For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476